SXSW 2016: more from the British Music Embassy, plus Roo Panes Wednesday afternoon (part 2) – 16th March 2016

By on Wednesday, 30th March 2016 at 4:00 pm
 

Catch up on part 1 of our Wednesday afternoon coverage of SXSW 2016 here.

Wednesday at SXSW 2016 was an unusual day for us in Austin, so let me (Mary) explain the reason for the tag-teaming on this post. Carrie and I headed to FLOODfest early to catch Everything Everything, and I hung around to interview their guitarist Alex Robertshaw after they played there, also managing to catch a bit of next act Haelos, but Carrie had already left to see the start of at the British Music Embassy. I turned up later to rejoin Carrie and cover the rest of the British Music Embassy showcase, as well as wait for some additional interviews, and she went off to meet Roo Panes south of the river for an interview of her own. Got all that? Good. Carrie’s contributions to this piece are marked below.

Switching gears from a seasoned pro in the business showing the youngsters how it’s done (Jane Weaver), the bill then turned to two much younger acts. Banners, aka Liverpool singer/songwriter Mike Nelson and band, was clearly the standout performance of the afternoon. The lanky Northerner brought swagger and energy into the British Music Embassy with his well-crafted pop melodies.

Banners British Music Embassy Wednesday SXSW 2016Single ‘Start a Riot’ caused hearts to swell with its gentle yet powerful message, while the driving tribal beats of and the singalong qualities of ‘Shine a Light’ were reminiscent of Bastille’s successful maiden SXSW appearance at the very same venue 3 years before. Both songs appear on Banners’ self-titled EP released in January, an admirable musical appetizer of pop hits ahead of his debut album that he told me in a chat after his performance will hopefully see the light of day this summer. Fingers crossed!

Blaenavon are an indie rock trio with ties to the town of Liss in Hampshire. Yet confusingly, their band name is identical to a Welsh town and World Heritage Site in southeastern Wales. While we didn’t get a chance to ask the Transgressive signees about this disconnect while they were in Austin, the “three boys with a story” have that air of mystery and intrigue mixed with darkness, which explains NME drawing comparisons between them and Wild Beasts and WU LYF. By 5 in the afternoon after my two interviews outside, the venue was packed out and I could not get back in. However, two girls stood at the doorway, singing along to every word to songs I assume appeared on the band’s 2013 ‘Koso’ EP, now imprinted forever in these girls’ brains.

Of what I did hear, I was sufficiently impressed with singer Ben Gregory’s guitar chops live, which I found an interesting contrast to his playing of an acoustic guitar as the band filmed ‘Dragon’ recently for Burberry Acoustic. One wonders if Gregory ever considered going in a direction more like their fellow Transgressive act and folk singer Johnny Flynn, as the deep timbre of their voices are similar. Food for thought.

Carrie: While Mary was busy at the British Music Embassy, I headed south across the Colorado River to the Hyatt Regency Austin to interview folk singer/songwriter Roo Panes. The rather dashing Mr. Panes and I had a nice chat on the hotel patio, which you can listen to right back here, even witnessing a riverboat show passing us by in the course of the conversation. We then headed inside to the lobby, where he played a charming solo acoustic showcase to a mellow but very attentive audience. I was glad to hear him mix in a few of his older songs with the ones I already knew from his recent album ‘Paperweights’, even including an off-the-cuff performance of a track from his 2012 EP ‘Once’ called ‘I’ll Move Mountains.’

Roo Panes at the Hyatt Regency Wednesday at SXSW 2016

Our busy Wednesday afternoon was punctuated by only a brief stop for dinner ahead of an equally action-packed Wednesday night schedule. Stay tuned to TGTF for more of our SXSW 2016 coverage in the coming days.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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